Bruce Dawe's ability to concentrate experience into vivid and memorable images is discussed, referring to Big Jim and Life-Cycle.

Essay by EnglishLitStudentHigh School, 11th gradeA-, April 2004

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One of the marks of a great poet is the ability to concentrate experience into vivid and memorable images. Discuss, referring to at least two poems.

Over the forty-three years between 1954 and 1997 Bruce Dawe wrote more than 150 poems, each one a reflection or reaction to what was happening in his life. Dawe has the amazing ability to show readers what he is thinking and feeling purely from his poetry. Dawe uses his life and past experiences, drawing on them to create characters and occurrences that leave lasting impressions and provokes thought from the reader. Two of Dawe's poems that are excellent examples of Dawe's imagery are "Life-Cycle", relating the cycle of life to the football season; and "Big Jim", describing an Australian market seller. The reason that Dawe is able to describe these characters and events in so much detail is because he is able to use his past life experiences to enhance his writing.

Dawe, now aged 74, has grown up surrounded by the suburban Australian culture. Born in 1930, Bruce Dawe grew up in suburban Geelong, Victoria. Dawe was the fourth child, born into a family where the breadwinner was an unskilled labourer. This meant that the Dawe family was forced to move constantly, in search for work in the midst of the Great Depression. In spite of this, Dawe looks back on his childhood as a happy time. As a teenager, some of Dawe's poems were published in The Age newspaper, under the guidance of George Stirling, an influential English teacher. At the age of sixteen, Dawe left school; uninterested in the work given to him. Over the years that followed, he took up many jobs; including a clerk with a law firm, a salesman, an office boy...